The New Orleans Pelicans are in a much-different position this offseason than they were in the last one.
Last year the Pelicans fired their head coach, star player Zion Williamson got hurt and they traded away three players from their starting five.
This offseason has been relatively quiet, as New Orleans finally has some stability at coach and on the roster.
Even though they finished below .500 this season, the Pelicans could be “scary” next year at full strength, as they already have the talent to compete and the assets to add even more.
This has been reflected in the title odds, which have the Pels in the top half of the league heading into next season.
Now that the Pelicans have gone from a franchise that looked to be a mess to one that is considered a contender, it has opened up a whole new set of potential free agents, the ring chasers.
New Orleans Pelicans: The ring-chasing free agents
Every offseason we see players who are in the latter stages of their careers take less money to join a contending team. Let’s face it, the Pelicans have never really been one of those teams, but now with the trio of Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum leading the way, that has all changed.
Not only are the Pelicans talented enough to compete for a title, but having a guy like McCollum, who is a well-respected ambassador for players, can’t hurt when it comes to drawing in the ring-chasing free agents.
It’s one of the built in advantages to having stars, as older players who have already made loads of money, might be willing to come chase a ring for the minimum.
We’ve seen guys like Carmelo Anthony do it recently, and in the past, players like Charles Barkley and Gary Payton all took less to try and chase rings.
It didn’t always work out, and the Pelicans certainly don’t need a flashy name like Melo to be legitimate. They can roll with the team they have right now, but if they wanted to add another veteran presence there will be names out there we could eventually see attached from the Pelicans.
All of these guys are way past their prime, but still have something left in the tank and could be valuable depth for the Pels, as well as provide veteran mentorship to their young players. Here are a few names just off the top of my head, none of which have been attached to the Pelicans….yet:
- Ricky Rubio
- Joe Ingles
- PJ Tucker
- Nicolas Batum
- Robin Lopez
The Pels obviously aren’t going to break the bank for players in this stage of their careers, but if a guy like this wanted to join in a limited role on a minimum deal, there could be mutual interest.
New Orleans still has some roster moves to make, and if they end up with a roster spot, they could fill it with a veteran who has some experience in the playoffs.
It’s a good place to be, as the ability to attract ring chasers means you are at least in the conversation for getting that ring.